Reporters on the job


• SINGAPORES OPEN DOOR: Singapore is usually one of the tightest countries in Asia when it comes to providing information to the press - particularly on sensitive matters that could strain relations with its massive neighbor, Indonesia. But in the case of the alleged terrorists arrested in recent weeks, it's been incredibly forthcoming (page 1). The multiethnic city-state is afraid the arrests could inflame racial tensions, and is using transparency as the best medicine against that, says reporter Dan Murphy.

"They've made a decision to lay out all of their evidence, so that local Muslims don't think they're being unfair, and so that local non-Muslims recognize that this wasn't representative of the Muslim community,'' says Murphy. He remembers calling a Singapore official for comment on a story a few years ago and being told: "No comment. And that's off the record."

• ANGRY AT AMERICANS: The Monitor's Danna Harman has been struck by the misery expressed by refugees of the volcanic eruption in Congo - and the anger (this page). "It seems to be directed at white people - both aid workers and journalists - and particularly at the US. They're angry that we don't have food or shelter. And they seem to blame us for the mess they're in," she says. She sat down with one rebel leader over coffee, and he began a diatribe on why the international community must help. "I asked him, 'You're in charge here. Why don't you help?' He looked at me quizzically and replied, 'We're the rebels!' "

Danna suspects that the anger directed at her and other foreigners is born of desperation, hunger, years of dependency on international aid, and a complete lack of faith in their own leaders.

- David Clark Scott

World editor

Cultural snapshot
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